Nach langer Coronapause konnte dieses Jahr endlich wieder der bilinguale Austausch mit unserer Partnerschule Pius-X College in den Niederlanden in vollem Umfang stattfinden. In Begleitung von den beiden Englischlehrerinnen Kim Biermann und Claudia Schall besuchten 26 Schülerinnen und Schüler der 7. und 8. Klassen vom 13. – 15. Februar 2023 ihre Austauschpartnerinnen und -partner in Bladel, in der Nähe von Eindhoven. Neben dem niederländischen Schulalltag, lernte unsere Schülergruppe auch das Leben in ihren niederländischen Gastfamilien kennen. Den genauen Ablauf der drei Tage schildern unsere beiden Schülerinnen Eve Pokrass und Maris Jahn aus der 8b in ihrem auf Englisch verfassten Erlebnisbericht:

The bilingual student exchange, which was optional for all 8th graders and accompanied by Mrs Biermann and Mrs Schall, took place in a wonderful town called Bladel, which is located in the Netherlands. The journey was around 2 hours by bus, and everyone was very excited about the three days in Bladel. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was the huge modern school, the Pius X-College, and the many bikes in front of the building. With our suitcases in hand, we saw a group of children of our age walking towards us. Only a few moments later everyone found their exchange partner. They gave us a warm welcome, and we were offered a tasty lunch including sausage rolls and hot chocolate. We talked about the daily programme, and after that we had an interactive game throughout the school, where we had to find clues from diverse puzzles, and give a code into a laptop, which we figured out in the process of the game. We had a limited amount of time, and the group that had the most correct answers and finished first got a prize, which was a delicious cake and lots of candy.

The next interesting game we played was called the ‘Big Ball Bonanza’ in the sports hall. Working in partners, you had to ensure the softballs didn’t touch your mat, only using your arms, feet, and body to defend. This was lots of fun, and many people’s highlight!

After the school programme ended, each of us went to the house of their hosts. After meeting the families, some of us went out in Bladel to meet friends and eat together. We met at a local restaurant, while other staff went bowling. The Dutch food is very teenage friendly. The chips with mayo, and the Dutch Frikandel were the absolute highlight. We continued the adventure further, and some of us were invited to watch a movie together.

The next morning most of us cycled to school, which even though it was cold, and some lived so far out the trip was 45 minutes long, the views of the sunrise, and the stars at night made it all worth it.

The next activity was a day trip to Antwerp. We travelled by bus. Antwerp is a very nice town with a rich history. We had a long walk in the centre, and we visited the MAS museum, which offered astounding views of Antwerp from the top floor; the Brabo Statue, the city hall, and we took many photographs. After a lunch break and some free time, we then did a photo tour of Antwerp. Navigating our way through the city, and taking photos of landmarks really was an experience to remember!

We spent the last day of our stay at school. We attended different workshops, such as: Art class, Biology, Science, Bliss (which means learning a new language), and Star Wars.

In the Science workshop, we played detectives, having to distinguish different powders to see which are drugs, and which are harmless. To do so, we had to conduct experiments and research different ways to identify the drug.

During the Star Wars workshop, we talked about the Space Race, the first man made object ever to leave the earth’s atmosphere called Sputnik; about Laika, a stray dog from the streets of Moscow that occupied the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2, and was launched into outer space. We even talked about the first steps of Neil Armstrong on the Moon in 1969.

For a lot of us, the best activity of the day was the Biology Workshop. In this workshop, we dissected owl pellets (which had been in the freezer long enough to have killed any bacteria), and took out whole animal bones, which we then glued on paper to create our own monster! We could really get a close insight into the skeletal system of different animals, such as moles and mice. We learned that the owls cannot digest the fur and bones of its prey and a special organ in the owl separates the bones and fur from the meat.

Lastly, we had an evaluation together, and we talked about the funniest parts of the trip.

After the cool workshops and the great time spent with our hosts, our time in Bladel was approaching its end. Full of great memories, new experiences, and new friends, we said a heartfelt goodbye to our Dutch friends, and got on the bus back to Düsseldorf! We are looking forward to welcoming our friends to Düsseldorf in May.

(by Eve Pokrass and Maris Jahn, 8b)


Claudia Schall Kim Biermann